The Falmouth Town Council voted 5-2 last week to impose a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products, effective in March.

“I hope this moves further up the governmental chain and we are able to help these children who are now addicted to vaping,” Chairwoman Hope Cahan said after the vote Dec. 11.

Falmouth is the sixth Maine municipality to approve a flavored tobacco ban. The ban does not prohibit the use of flavored tobacco products in town, only the sale. Tobacco-flavored products are exempt.

“The ordinance is not intended to prohibit use among adults. It’s intended to make access a little bit harder among younger kids,” said Councilor Amy Kuhn.

“Our school personnel are seeing more kids and younger kids initiating use and becoming addicted to nicotine,” she said. “The flavored tobacco products in particular have brought things to a new level.”

Tobacco products with menthol, fruit, candy and other non-tobacco flavors promote “youth initiation and continued use of tobacco products,” Cahan said.


According to the Flavors Hook Kids Maine group, data from the 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey shows nearly 90% of youth who use e-cigarettes use flavored products, up from 85% last year. According to a 2021 Maine Integrated Youth Health study in Cumberland County, 6.3% of middle and high school students reported using vapes and e-cigarettes.

Councilors Jay Trickett and Tommy Johnson voted against the ban, citing detrimental effects to adult consumers and to local retailers, who say they enforce laws already in place preventing the sale of the products to minors. Stores will have until the ban goes into effect to sell their flavored tobacco stock.

The ordinance will have very real consequences, Trickett said Monday. Some adults use the flavored vape products as an alternative to smoking cigarettes, and the ban could cause them to go back to smoking, he said.

“Many residents have reached out to us to oppose this matter,” he said. “There has not been universal support.”

Councilor Tommy Johnson said that while he does not condone smoking, adults over the age of 21 have the right to use tobacco products and should be able to buy them in their own town.

Portland, South Portland, Brunswick, Bar Harbor and Bangor have enacted similar bans.

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